Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Debacle of GA '19: What Rev. Todd Eklof and the Spokane Church Can Expect

I've had enough requests asking me to comment upon the situation of Rev. Todd Eklof, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Rev. Todd Eklof's ministry is over. It may seem presumptive to say this because Rev. Eklof's congregation is largely behind him. In a sane world in which congregational polity is respected, that would be that.

But the UUA has no respect whatsoever for congregational polity. None. If you doubt this, pay attention to the UUA's actions, not their words. Their words are usually lies, their actions speak the truth; albeit a far different truth than their narrative allows.

Put very simply, but not inaccurately, it's not over because the UUA hasn't gotten what it wants. As the UUA has no respect for congregational polity it will stop at absolutely nothing to get what it wants.

And what the UUA wants is twofold: 1) Rev. Todd Eklof out of the Unitarian Universalist ministry with prejudice, and 2) The Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane to join the borg collective the current thinking of the UUA.

Nothing else will do. The "leaders" at the UUA will stop at absolutely nothing to make sure that happens. It's already begun.

Without further ado, here's what Rev. Todd and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane can expect:

First off this is going to be one absolutely miserable fucking year for Rev. Todd Eklof. As it is, he's already been publicly pilloried for wrong-think. The cherry on that shit-sundae was the UUMA Executive Committee in a startlingly visible act of cowardice censuring the Rev. Todd Eklof. 

Dead white males all be rayciss. Nothing to see or consider here folks.
There are some standing with him: The Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, his good offices person (Isn't it interesting that he would need a good offices person for the crime of thinking for himself?), most of his congregation and the president of the Board of Trustees.

That last one's a two-edged sword. The current board president of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane is, in my opinion, the single worst person in the congregation to be board president at this time. This is someone who gets bogged down in microscopic minutia. This is also someone who really loves her minister. 

Because of that, Rev. Todd Eklof will not lose his job while the current board president holds the office. In fact he's very safe, this year. The president would consider it a personal failing of hers if she were not able to "save the ministry" of Rev. Eklof.

At the same time, every single complaint she or the board receives regarding Rev. Eklof will be given careful, minute, painstaking, detailed investigation. Each time to exonerate Rev. Eklof. This leads inevitably to two parallel results leading to a third:

1) The constant, and I do mean constant, investigations into this or that aspect of Rev. Todd Eklof's ministry will sap the time from anything else. It will be very difficult for him to get any actual ministry done with meeting after meeting dealing with utter bullshit. As a result, Rev. Todd will begin to feel and show signs of burnout. 

2) Each and every investigation into Rev. Todd's racism, and other recently uncovered failings in his ministry, will start to cast doubt on Rev. Todd. It doesn't matter if Rev. Todd Eklof is racist or not, the constant investigations will either uncover, or manufacture, Rev. Todd's racism.

Both of these lead to 3) Rev. Todd's burnout will be seen as evidence of his guilt. Which changes the tone of each and every investigation.

"But, he wasn't guilty." you say. When has that ever applied to a scapegoat? The scapegoat's job is to take on the sins of the community and be expelled into outer darkness (aka away from the religious fold).

As the Spokane church has a president who has no ability to sort and pick important issues from the general stuff that swirls around controversy, everything will be given equal detail. Everything.

The big issue of whether Rev. Todd Eklof is a racist, did not originally come from inside the congregation. Literally no one in the congregation ever felt that Rev. Todd is or was a racist. That, however has changed because of the above and what follows.

We're going to take a little time to look at this as it shows how the Unitarian Universalist Association operates. Warning... it's ugly.

In the beginning, there was Rev. Todd Eklof and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane. Both were happy with each other. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane is -- whatever else it's shortcomings and failings -- one of the few Unitarian Universalist churches left in the country where free thought is encouraged and practiced. 

I can personally guarantee that everything that Rev. Todd Eklof presented in The Gadfly Papers was discussed with his congregation, through sermons certainly, but more importantly through all of the various discussion groups, think tanks, philosophical discussion groups, and on and on. The ideas in The Gadfly Papers were discussed and refined in the congregation's numerous talk groups. So, while it is safe to say that everything that Rev. Todd wrote and published is his, it isn't entirely his own. These are ideas that were refined in the congregation. The congregation owns them as well. Hence the need to scapegoat.

And I personally guarantee you that if The Gadfly Papers was met with enthusiasm by the borg collective GA attendees, the congregation would own as much of it as they could. As it is, it was rejected explosively, and now the congregation feels embarrassed. Not for the ideas, but for the reception the ideas received. And there's the chink in the armor. 

Do not for a nano-second believe that the UUA is going to sit on its hands and watch the show from the sidelines. Nope. There is a golden opportunity to get rid of a political enemy (that's really how the brain trust at the UUA sees it), and that opportuity has been seized with both hands.

It started subtly, after the fracas at GA '19, when they discovered that they hadn't ordered enough hug boxes for the chronically triggered. At GA itself, delegates were approached by various hoo-hahs with faux concern about what happened. Initial contacts were presented with care and concern. You know the deal, "It's such a shame that such a nice congregation that would never harbor such horrible ideas has had your minister put you in this terrible situation."

Over the summer, several leaders in the congregation received "pastoral" phone calls from region and national leaders, each on the surface seeing how everyone's weathering the storm. 

In all cases, information was gathered, weak points were probed, and the person contacted left the conversation with these salient points firmly established in their heads: 1) this is entirely Rev. Todd Eklof's fault, 2) as a result, the congregation is an innocent bystander/victim, 3) we're with you emotionally as you face this trial with your minister, and most importantly, 4) should it not work out... there are a lot of great new ministers in the pipeline. 

This last is both the most important piece of information a UUA/Region leader can impart and it's a flat out lie. What this means is not that there are plenty of good, qualified ministers in the pipeline, but rather that there is a glut of completely mediocre ministers who pass the UUA's political litmus test. These people may literally fail in any and all aspects of ministry (and frequently do) with the exception that they have completely bought into the psyop that passes for enlightened discourse in the UUA these days. And as a complete coincidence nearly all of these political hacks are subsidized by the UUA in the form of "Consulting" or "Contract" ministers. 

That is correct... the only thing looked at for fitness in ministry is political ideology. Seriously, that's it. Anyone hiring from this new pool is begging for trouble. 

To the UUA leadership's understanding, the Spokane church initially supporting their minister was (and is) seen as the church being racist to the core. I absolutely, positively, guarantee that when (not if, when) Rev. Todd leaves, the only candidates for interim ministry will be extreme hard-liners for the UUAs chosen political philosophy. Should they accept one of these stooges, and the congregation starts to inevitably falter, they will be offered a "partially all-expenses paid" consulting minister. The way thes work is since the UUA pays for part of the minister's salary, they feel it is their bought-and-paid-for right to control the direction of all of the congregation's ministry.

In order to help further this along, the helpful souls at the UUA/Region will suggest their own consulting team to come in and assess the congregation. As this is partially paid for by the UUA/Region... you know the rest. 

That's what we're going to see this year. 

In the next few pieces we'll look at the documented proof of what's going on with Rev. Todd and the Spokane church, and examine the calibre of the ministers the UUA pays for through their consulting (and other welfare programs for failed ministers) ministry program. All of which forces me to question whether the good folks at the UUA believe in the first principle...

One last thought. I happened to drive by the church a few times and noticed that their marquee out front was empty... all week long.

This photo was taken at 11am on Saturday morning (Feb. 22, 2020) It had been like this all week.

Let that sink in.

Your Old Pal,


  1. Would like to know how/where you obtained your information. And, what's your stance now as of Aug. 2020.

  2. Our past UUCS Board of Trustees president was a "she" and opposed Todd, working in concert with the UUA to depose him. That didn't work, and the congregation voted 2-1 in June for a board that supports Todd. The current Board of Trustees president is a man, Dr. Richard Steele, so you seem to have your facts wrong. Can you tell me who you are?